A ladder is a common formation wherein one player repeatedly blocks the other, forming two straight lines of stones:
The term is borrowed from Go, although in Hex, the formation actually looks like a ladder. Go “ladders” look like staircases. This has always bothered me.
Anyway, ladders occur frequently in Hex games – frequently enough that we’ll give them their own notation convention:
In this example black is the attacker, and white is the defender.
If you see a ladder forming, and you don’t have an “escape piece,” don’t play it.
Blindly playing a ladder through is always better for your opponent than it is for you. Instead, if you’re faced with a situation like the above, be patient. Take the fight elsewhere on the board, and hope that you’ll be able to set up an escape stone that you can use later.
Something something most edge templates work.
The defender can change the height of a ladder – this can be useful for avoiding a ladder scape.
Changing ladder direction.
Ladder switchbacks are a thing.
This is a woefully incomplete article.