Finally starting to understand Go

Tinx and I tried playing on software a while back, got stumped on "ladders," ie what's to stop us from just forming long chains of stones constantly trying to snake around each other? We should've just kept going for a bit more, it works out, either ladder chains hit the edge or other stones cause complications.

The other day I found FlyOrDie Go at the Google Chrome Web Store, got in, got to see how the game plays out. Still kinda floundering, it's a big open board and I don't understand what constrains stone placement in the first few moves of the early game. I look at midgame positions and wonder, what considerations formed those pretty patterns?

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