As anyone ever specificly tried to replicate cool and had it work?.
Figure out the palpable features of "awesome" to you. Example: To me, one mode of awesome is when a player is willing to take a moral stand without having demonized all other view-points ... when they're willing to say something that someone could reasonably disagree with, and stand by it.
Make a game that objectively rewards that palpable action. Dogs in the Vineyard creates a situation where any moral judgment is going to be questionable ... and then massively rewards players who are willing to make a moral judgment even so.
Play that game often enough that your group understands the value of the reward, and starts thinking about how to get it. First-time Dogs players often try to "solve" the town. I did my first time. When they finally understand that the town isn't meant to provide them with easy answers, and they aren't meant to seek them, then the awesome begins.
Sit back and enjoy the awesome.
Do you wonder why some people are serious (even fanatical) evangelists for their favorite Indie Games? To my mind, the reliable results of the sequence above provides the explanation.
If you play Dogs in the Vineyard you will get awesome-cool moments of players making real, human, moral judgments ... every single time. If you play PTA you will get awesome-cool moments of players riffing off each other's ideas and making something greater than the sum of its parts ... every single time. And so on, and so on. That's the kind of mojo that people want to share, even (especially!) with folks who don't believe in such mojo.
To the people who say things like "You can't plan for awesome," or "Awesome just comes when you're doing other things," I say "Your experience is not universal. Just like some baseball players succeed at radically improving how often they hit a home-run, some roleplayers succeed at radically improving how frequently they have awesome moments. If you check out what they're doing, maybe it will work for you ... or maybe not."