BBM officially released information about this year's 1st Version set on Friday and I'm disappointed. At 443 cards, the regular set is only 25 cards larger than last year's set (which was the smallest 1st Version set ever). Once again, there will only be 27 player and manager cards per team (for a total of 324 cards), 34 statistical leader cards, 19 Best 9 cards (actually, last year's set only had 18 Best 9 cards since there was no 2010 CL Best 9 1st baseman), 18 Golden Glove cards and 12 team checklist cards. Instead of the annual Rookie/Future Star subset (12 cards last year called "Recommended Hope 2011"), this years set features a 36 card (3 per team) "Cross Blaze" subset that I think is another crossover subset that will be continued in other sets (like the "Cross Stream" subset in the 2010 sets). There are also three 12 card insert sets (1 card per team) called "Leading Player", "Rookie" and "Lightning". There will be memorabilia cards available and signature versions of the "Cross Blaze" cards along with parallel versions of a third of the regular player cards as well as the Best 9, Golden Glove, "Cross Blaze" and insert cards.
The design of the regular player cards looks very similar to last year's design. And, as I had feared, BBM has dropped the number of cards per pack from 8 to 6, making it that much harder and more expensive to complete a set.
Up to the 2003 1st Version set, packs always had 10 cards, and generally there were 30 to a box, so a box contained 300 cards. The packs for the 2003 2nd Version set only had nine cards - 270 cards in a box and every 1st and 2nd Version set since then has had 8 cards in a pack - 240 to a box. Now there will only be 180 cards in a box - almost half of what the pre 2003 boxes had. By doing this, they've managed to keep the price of a pack to roughly 200-210 yen.
The set will be out in mid-April.