One of the problems with competition, though, is that it only works if it's equally matched. If your friend is completely hopeless, or completely merciless, the game likely won't be fun for anyone. What's usually best is if that one person is slightly better than the other, which lets the lesser player improve his/her skill and continually keeps it close. If this balance doesn't exist, competition usually makes a game worse rather than more compelling.
One of the toughest parts of putting together a Gamified class is balancing the competitive nature. This past year, I had a good bit of competition in the first few weeks. Students I didn't initially think would be leaders shot to the top of the leaderboard and went back and forth for first place. Of course, after a few weeks, a handful of students jumped way ahead of the others...and everyone forgot about the competition. It was no longer desirable or possible to win, so people didn't try. Many of them still did well in the course, but the competition wasn't the same if you weren't in the top 4.
I spent today writing up a new plan of EBL Version 2.0. This year, students will acquire points all year, but the competition will reset every quarter. Additionally, there will be points awarded for getting a 90%, 95% and 100% rather than just an 85% or "Accepted" in order to separate the best from the best. For example, an assignment will be worth 20 XP, but a 100% will warrant 25XP. This will actually make the game incredibly challenging for those who find the 85% mastery system too easy. It's one thing to complete every assignment, but can you do all assignments at 100%? Even the best Angry Birds player struggles with this. What I'm hoping is this will give a continued sense of competition throughout the year. One bad quarter won't mean you're out of the game, you'll still be able to bounce back in Round 2. While I'll be sure to honor the Top Point getter throughout the year, it's about more than just points this time around. Hidden badges, last minute "retro" challenges, and a "Star" system for exceptionally good work mean it's now about more than just speed, it's about showcasing your skills.
To the future seniors, get excited! Last year's game was fun, but not for everyone. This year, the TimeLord trophy will be up for grabs...