First, a caveat; if you are playing the base game, you may not want to do this. I got from level 1 to level 4 in one game; if I was playing the base game, that character would be done and I would be sad.
If you are playing the Fictive Way, then you can level as much as you want and still play. So let’s take a look at how to get the most out of your Awesome Point economy!
Focus on a fun idea. Pick a concept that makes you laugh a lot, that you think can get others to laugh a lot too. This may be min-maxed, it may not. But pick something fun and immediately different and interesting.
Be generous. Come up with reasons to hand out Awesome Points from the beginning–as soon as there are points in the bowl, start handing them out. During character generation. Because somebody brought snacks. A funny movie quote. Make up a reason to give them out that’s funny too. Encourage and appreciate the other players as much as you can, a point at a time, and make sure to toss some love to the quiet players too. Why? Because this shows others how to give out points, inspires them to do so, and gets the economy flowing for everyone. And, because it is more fun this way.
Blend. Look at what other people are doing. Play the straight man to their comedy sometimes. If they suggest something outrageous, back it. Tie your character to their plans. Fit in with their ideas. This game is about mutual admiration, not competition. You’ll still be plenty wacky with your own concept, but if you want to get Awesome Points, help other people be Awesome–they will likely appreciate it, and even if they don’t, you’ll be a better player.
A little mooching is okay. If someone laughs out loud and claps at something you’ve said, ask if that’s awesome. Be subtle if you can, but if it comes down to asking for Awesome Points in a good-natured fashion (especially when you’re low) then sometimes that’s the nudge people need to help out. You are part of this economy; you can’t give them to yourself, but as long as you are not a jerk and don’t feel entitled, it’s okay to go fishing a bit. People sometimes need help remembering to hand the points out. And if anyone gets annoyed, back off, no problem.
Don’t be good at everything. Getting points is one thing. Spending them is something else. Sometimes it’s really useful to have low ability scores or bad rolls–boost the score with Awesome Points. Pick one or two talents you plan to use frequently, and don’t buy them when you level. Continue to use them untrained, spending 3 Awesome Points each time. (Four of those, you level…)
Manage your damage. Two points to not take a wound, two points to increase your inflicted wounds. You affect damage six times, and that’s a level.
Feast and famine. Sure, there may be times you want to hoard your points, but… there will be more. A good DM will keep that bowl fed. So don’t hold on to too many unless you know you’re coming up on a real challenge. If you’ve spent all your points and you’re in a pinch, think fast; are you in a fight without armor that you can escape? Is there a gritty and/or witty comment you could bust out for insta-awesome? Or is this the time that living large carries a big price tag? In any case, be a good sport, and do note any opportunity the DM has to feed the bowl. If it’s running low, the DM can always cut loose with an evil laugh worth at least (as many points as you need right now.)
Don’t be a jerk. So if you are living large and overbearing your fellow players or DM who are not prepared to cope with this, or if you trigger resentment, that means it is time to quickly assess the situation. Are you being a jerk? If so, simmer down. Are you doing fine and they are not grokking the vibe? Well, see how you can still have fun, just don’t rely on the Awesome Economy. If people are playing the game straight, you may be better off relying on what your character is good at, until the wind shifts in an awesome direction.
I hope that’s helpful. Enjoy this great game!