BBM's website today announced this year's 1st Version set. There are some big differences with this set compared to previous editions. First of all, at 418 cards it's a lot smaller than the last couple 1st Version sets. As a point of comparision, last year's 1st Version set was 549 cards, 2009's was 553 and 2008's was 535. (Actually, now that I look it up, it's the smallest 1st Version set ever!) Looks like the major cause for the drop in set size is that instead of having 36 "regular" cards per team for players (and managers), the set only has 27 per team, for a total of 324 cards.
The other big differences lay in the subsets. As usual, there's a subset featuring the various statistical leaders from 2010 - 34 cards in all. There's also the usual Rookie/Future Star subset - this year it's called "Recommended Hope 2011" and only has 12 cards (1 per team) - you can pretty much bet that one of the cards will be Yuki Saitoh. But it's a big surprise that the other two subsets are for the winners of last year's Best 9 (19 cards) and Golden Glove (17 cards - no CL 1st baseman) awards. These had been insert sets rather than subsets since 1997 for Best 9 (with the exception of 1998) and 2000 for Golden Gloves. (I'm kind of happy that the Golden Glove cards are part of the regular set because they look pretty nice this year...)
The Best 9 and Golden Glove insert sets have been replaced by two new ones. There's a 24 card "Lightning" subset featuring (I assume) two players from each team. The other set is called "Golden Age 88" and contains 12 cards. Not positive what this is, but I'd be willing to bet money that it includes one player from each team who was born in 1988. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to which year Yuki Saitoh was born in? From the translation, I think these are an 88 card limited edition. In addition, there are memorabilia cards for last year's MVP and Sawamura award winners (Kazuhiro Wada, Tsuyoshi Wada and Kenta Maeda) plus Masahiro Tanaka.
The website doesn't currently list a release date, but I'd expect it to be out mid-April.