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Gunpowder in the free-to-download game C-evo is one of the key advances affecting military unit strength in the first half of the contest. It adds 3 to the strength of each attacking or defensive module in ground units designed after its discovery, while raising the price of each module to 8 (one more than does Monotheism, which also adds 3 to the strengths). It also adds to the strength and cost of naval units.

Its other value is as a prerequisite to Metallurgy, which is needed for Ballistics and is one of the optional prerequisites for Science.

The only disadvantage in learning Gunpowder early can be that it adds 20% to the price of naval unit modules without a meaningful addition to their strength (because most enemies will produce much stronger ships fairly soon). It is preferable - unless ground unit strength is becoming urgently important - to research Engineering (and ideally Navigation unless your world has very little deep ocean) first, then design a cheap transport vessel that is faster than Longboats and carries more units.

Gunpowder, one of C-evo's "Early Advances" (not needing Science)

Prerequisite
advances:

Iron Working, Medicine
Allows or enables: -

Has military or other value: Ground strength +3, cost to 8; Naval strength +8, cost to 12

Obsoletes: -
Further advances
that require it:

Metallurgy