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TL/DR: It's my first time playing through the series and I would love to hear the thoughts of people who have played through it many times in many ways. How would you do it if you were starting fresh? Tutu? BGT? Totally vanilla?

Hi everyone. I just became the proud owner of BG1/BG2 through GOG. When I was in high school, I played through, maybe, the first couple of hours of gameplay when BG2 came out. I didn't appreciate it, and didn't see it through. I never touched BG1. Now I'm back, and ready to explore what I know is going to be a wonder CRPG experience.

But here's the rub, I read so much about the mod community, and many of the "updates" seem like they would be very positive (widescreen, etc...). Then you have BGT and Tutu, both of which seem to have their benefits. Since I am starting from scratch, I am wondering what you all think about how I should approach the experience. Especially if you have played through the series multiple time and multiple ways. If you had to do it again from scratch, what would you do?

Would you combine the two games together for a first playthrough for continuity's sake? I hear the music isn't perfectly aligned when you do that.
Would you go Tutu for the engine change but keep the games separate?
Would you install some mods to just improve the experience for each game individually? What would be the suggestions here? Widescreen ... fixes?
Would you go completely vanilla?

The biggest consideration here is that I am not sure that I'll play through the series more than once, so I'd love to get the most out of the experience the first time through. Then, if I want to play through again, I can always change things up :)

Thank you all, and I look forward to a lively discussion!
I'm playing through the series for the first time, pure vanilla. I wouldn't bother with a bunch of fan-patches and other content for the first run-through the game; I haven't encountered any significant problems so far, and there's plenty of content. What I *would* do is consult guides after you clear area maps but before leaving them, to make sure you don't miss anything but also avoid spoiling yourself. It can be pretty easy to miss quests when important NPCs have almost identical sprites with the various "peasant" and "nobleman" nobodies populating the towns. There's also a lot of unique loot in BG1 which you can only get by picking otherwise avoidable fights with the right people, who you probably wouldn't engage otherwise.
Just install BG1 and start playing. You don't need any mods.

I disagree with Bobchillingworth about using guides, you don't need them. Play your game, not someone else's. Looking at a walktrough after each area completed will make you feel bad, no need to break the immersion by reworking the areas like someone else did.
I agree with kmonster, on both points made: you don't need highly subjective fan mods, and guides will spoil the whole point of adventuring, learning as you go, making mistakes etc. If you are intent on seeing every scrap of the game (referring to you only playing it once), the only way to do it is by following somebody else's playthrough (guides) or cheating. Don't do that to yourself.
To each their own; I wouldn't use a guide to resolve quests (unless you don't want to miss out on stuff like the Big Metal Unit easter egg armor), but I don't think it cheapens the game experience to consult maps to complete more of the game. After all, you bought the game, you might as well try to get as much out of it as possible. The PC also doesn't get nearly as much characterization as something like the Nameless One from Planescape Torment , so you needn't worry about walkthroughs spoiling the narrative unless you read ahead. Oh, and the series is shockingly unforgiving for first-time players more used to modern RPGs, so consulting guides to make sure you clear as much of the game as the developers expected of you is sensible.
Thanks to you all so far.

So not even a widescreen or resolution mod, huh?

Other thoughts?
I've played BG1 vanilla once & Bg1 modded with BG1 engine a couple of times.
BGT a couple of times & Easy TuTu many times & if I only intended to play it once I would go for TuTu with minimal mods.
Fixpack
BG2Tweaks (pick what you like)
BG1NPC's
Widescreen Mod.

If you don't want to upset the balance too much, don't pick a Sorcerer in BG1.
I'd go vanilla for the first time. Then use mods on a replay.
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iwuguy: Thanks to you all so far.

So not even a widescreen or resolution mod, huh?

Other thoughts?
Why would you even consider doing that? The larger resolution mod + UI fixes is 100% necessary.
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pseudonymous: The larger resolution mod + UI fixes is 100% necessary.
Please explain why you think those are 100% necessary -- they are absolutely not, by the way.
I tried the widescreen mod and hated it. I felt too far away from the action. It was the widescreen mod that made me consider getting the Enhanced Edition just so I could zoom. (I didn't though -- yay!)

I did it vanilla, as I almost always do. No guides, no cheats. Just good old fashioned vanilla. About 6 times until I "beat"* it.

So pay no attention to all the hoopla about mods. Those are nice for a second time through. Sit down and relive some of the greatest moments in video game history.

*I got to the last boss and the game crashed and I couldn't get it to work from that point, so I finished it off on youtube
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Hickory: Please explain why you think those are 100% necessary -- they are absolutely not, by the way.
If you want to enjoy the horribly aliased look of the characters on modern monitors in their original resolution , feel free.
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Hickory: Please explain why you think those are 100% necessary -- they are absolutely not, by the way.
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pseudonymous: If you want to enjoy the horribly aliased look of the characters on modern monitors in their original resolution , feel free.
And that reply explains why you think those 2 mods are "100% necessary"? I sense a touch of melodrama!
Okay, good insight into the widescreen mod.

The last thing I can't decide is if I should go with EasyTutu just for the IE2 differences. Again, if I were to only play once, should I stick with the original engine, or go with the changes made in IE2?

Thoughts?
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iwuguy: Okay, good insight into the widescreen mod.

The last thing I can't decide is if I should go with EasyTutu just for the IE2 differences. Again, if I were to only play once, should I stick with the original engine, or go with the changes made in IE2?

Thoughts?
If you are only ever going to play the game once, you really owe it to yourself to play it vanilla. If you play BG1 in TuTu/BGT, you will not be playing BG1, you will be playing BG1+, and beware of those who tell you that TuTu/BGT is the same... it is not. You will never know BG1 unless and until you play it in all it's flawed engine beauty.