Just bought a box of the new Bowman (paid $68). I'm busting it tonight, and I'll have a complete box collation tomorrow.
First impressions of the new Bowman: First off, Bowman has gone the way of its Draft Pick counterpart, and is now "bundled" with Bowman Chrome. This is great if you collect both Bowman and BowChro. Unfortunately, I don't. I have never opened a pack of BowChro in my life and have no intention to. Yet, in order to collect the set I want -- and that would be regular Bowman -- one-fifth of the cards in the box I am about to crack, (three-in-ten if you include the one-per-pack "Gold" parallels) are of no use to me. Gee, thanks Topps!
We keep hearing from "The Hobby Powers That Be" of the need to revive set collecting. Set builders (and I count myself among the ranks) are the backbone of The Hobby, and will remain so. While Upper Deck has been taking the set building revival to heed -- witness the excellent, collector friendly '06 UD and Fleer sets -- Topps goes in the opposite direction with '06 Bowman.
Bowman was a rarity: a rookie-focused product without short-prints. In other words, it was product with a crap-load of rookie cards, and you can actually afford to build a complete set. Not anymore. 25 of the cards come only one way: pre-autographed, and seeded at the rate of one-per-box (two-per in HTA). It's one thing to say that you're encouraging set collecting, it's quite another to issue sets that are able to actually be collected.
With that in mind, I do not have high hopes for this box. Hopefully, I'll be pleasantly surprised. Probably not.