You like that period I threw up there? I'm gonna say about 7 out of 10 of you read that title differently because of the period at the end. Knowing how to change someone's thought process, even for a fraction of a second, is pace control. And that is a VERY valuable skill to have in the bold and dynamic world of tabletop gaming. Whether you're playing Dungeons & Dragons or Pokemon, knowing how quickly or slowly things move relative to each other...and knowing how to adjust that speed...is an essential skill for tabletop gamers to have.
Unfortunately, pacing is such a bold and dynamic variable that it is very, very hard to teach. At least, from my experience. I'm going to write about two little tricks I do. These things may or may not work for you. "Your mileage may vary," as they say.
The first thing I do is take a ten minute break every sixty minutes of play. During that break, I take a little walk, I think about what's happened, and I think about what I want to do next. Guided by my agenda, I typically come up with a solid enough foundation to build the next sixty minutes of play on.
The second thing I do is intentionally take as long as possible to do something. Not everything, of course. Just whenever I'm feeling overwhelmed or that the game is running away from me. I don't normally look up rules in the middle of play, for example. But if I feel like the pace is going faster than I'd like, suddenly I give a damn about rules and start looking them up, mid-game. This is a tricky little trick because many people are going to read this and think I'm saying do fucking EVERYTHING as slowly as possible, and of course I don't mean that. I mean, a tool I have at my disposal for controlling the pace of play is to intentionally make an effort to think a thing through, rather than throwing out the first thing I can think of. A lot of you probably do this instinctively. That's an awesome gift to have, gov, and I'm jealous if you do! I don't think I have it since I have to think about it a lot to get there. 30 years, in fact.