I was asked this question just a few days ago. This blog, which is dedicated to providing free online bridge lessons for absolute beginners, seemed a good place to answer the question.
What is the game bridge?
Bridge is a card game. It uses a single pack of standard playing cards, without the jokers. You need four people to play bridge and they are divided into two partnerships. At the start of each game, all the cards are shuffled and dealt, so that each player holds 13 cards. These are then sorted by the player into the 4 suits - spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs.
Bridge is a trick taking game. In each round of the game, each player plays one card. The person playing the highest card, or a trump card, wins the trick.
Before the card play starts there is a round of bidding. One of the things the bidding decides is whether or not three will be a trump suit. If there is, which of the 4 suits will be trumps.
All players must follow the suit played at the start of each round if they can. If they can't they can play a card from another suit. If there is a trump suit, a card played from the trump suit will beat cards played from the suit that was led (unless the round is being played in the trump suit).
There are two distinct parts to each game. The initial bidding and the actual card play. Each require different skills and take time and practice to do well.